The floods in Peru have long since stopped making the news in the UK, but the relief effort still has a long way to go. Around 30-40 thousand people have been affected by the floods. Many are still living in tents or temporary accommodation. Houses are in a state of near-collapse. Some people have, quite literally, lost everything.
Until this time last week, my knowledge of Peru probably extended as far as Nolberto Solano and Paddington Bear. And that was about it. Yet this last week has meant I’ve been reading more about the South American country than I’d ever have envisaged. And feel I know enough to blog a couple of questions over the natural disaster.
Before I do, I’m well aware that while my focus on here has been spreading the word about my girlfriend, now safely rescued, there is also a big need for aid and a human cost to this all.
Earlier today I got the phone call I’d been hoping for. Even though it was fairly likely S would be on one of the first airlifts out of Machu Picchu today, it wasn’t until she called and I heard it from her voice that I could start to relax. It has, it’s fair to say, been one of the more worrying weeks I’ve had.
Yesterday was one of those days of hope but not knowing. S started off the day being told to head for a briefing with her tour company and being told that they would get flown out. Probably. Possibly.
It’s a good job this blog post wasn’t written an hour earlier. About six hours ago, I got a text from S saying the power had gone down in her area and there had been no sign of helicopters. There had been no news and nobody had told S or her group anything. With water and food supplies starting to run down even further, the situation was looking grim.
Yesterday I was concerned for my girlfriend, trapped in Machu Picchu after heavy rains and mudslides, but optimistic from what she was saying, and news reports, that she would soon be out. Today, I’m a lot more worried and have no idea when she’ll escape from the village, cut off from the rest of the country.
I spoke to S again earlier this evening, and things are both better and worse. Mainly worse.
Yesterday they were told the evacuation, using planes and helicopters, would start today. They have seen and heard nothing about this. A US plane, intended for American citizens arrive, but was commandeered by the locals. The Americans, like S, remain .
There are certain moments when your stomach lurches. One of them is when your girlfriend, a seasoned traveller, sends a text saying she’s had to be evacuated from her hotel and she’s scared. This from somebody who has been halfway around the globe and takes most things in her stride.
I rarely put any kind of personal stuff on this blog because, well, I just choose not to. But, equally, I’ve decided to blog about the flooding and mudslides in the Cusco area of Peru (home to Machu Picchu) in case, like me, you’re one of the friends, family, or relatives of the 2000 or so tourists stranded in the area and are just looking for information and happen to stumble across this. Not knowing is one of the worst feelings ever